Charity Royall is eighteen, bored with life in the small town of North Dormer. While working at the library, Charity meets visiting architect Lucius Harney and they become friends. Will their growing closeness lead to a happy marriage? Charity was born in an impoverished mountain community and her life is complicated by Mr. Royall who intruded into her bedroom when she was seventeen and later urged her to marry him. Lucius starts an affair with Charity Royall, all the while hiding the fact that he is engaged to society girl Annabel Balch.